WHEELING - Wheeling Hospital's Howard Long Wellness Center, created to provide comprehensive, high-quality education and fitness services, celebrates its 20th anniversary this month.
On hand to join in the celebration was the center's main benefactor, Howard Long, whose $1 million donation helped construct the wellness facility.
Reflecting on the past 20 years, Long said, "The center far exceeded my vision and dreams. It's a center for everyone. You don't have to have a perfect '10' body to come here to get in shape. It's a place where anyone of any age can come to exercise and feel comfortable about it, regardless if they are just starting out or have been doing it for years. We encourage everyone to regularly exercise. Science shows it helps people live longer."
Gathering at the Howard Long Wellness Center to observe its 20th anniversary are, Wheeling Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ron Violi, left, Howard and Wendy Long and the Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
"We are grateful that the Howard Long Wellness Center provides the opportunity for West Virginians and our neighbors to take care of themselves. We have an obligation to stay healthy and help others do the same. The center is a wonderful place to do both," said the Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
Joe Slavik, director of HLWC, said the center has provided services to thousands of members in the past 20 years.
"We have some people who have been with us the entire time," he said. "They sometimes are here before our doors open at 5:30 a.m. And now we're seeing generations of members."
Also with the HLWC since the day it opened are group exercise leaders Joann Gould and Tom Pentino; administrative assistant Nora Black; and diabetes coordinator Jennifer Guzolik.
The 55,000-square-foot center offers various facilities including cardiovascular center (a variety of bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, rowers, Arc Trainers and Stairmasters), variable resistance equipment, indoor walking/running track, free weights, two racquetball courts, and a full size basketball court.
The Wellness Center is also equipped with a beautiful aquatic center that includes an indoor swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. Several water classes are offered daily for the novice and advanced levels.
Aerobics, spinning, yoga and Zumba classes also are offered.
Wheeling Hospital's cardiac and pulmonary rehab treatment programs are provided at the center. The center also offers Family and Friends CPR training, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings there. In addition, the very popular Safety Town takes place every summer at the center.
Some of the additional services include personal training, registered dietitian, pro shop and tips on healthy eating, as well as health and educational opportunities. The center offers various activities for area residents of all ages.
Call the center at 304-242-9355 for more information.